Why we need to invest in women farmers in Africa

This piece was originally published on ONE’s Africa blog.

“Because this continent is not only going to feed itself, we have to feed the world”

As today is World Food Day, it is an appropriate time to recognise and appreciate the importance of Africa’s principals food producers; women farmers. Roughly 70% of small holder farmers in Africa are women, and therefore it is unsurprising that they are the principal food producers, yet Africa is a victim of substantial food insecurity.

60% of the world’s remaining arable land is in Africa, yet we are still facing major food insecurity issues. In order for Africa to feed itself, it needs to maximise its own food productivity, and women farmers are at the root of this issue. Women farmers have historically been neglected and disadvantaged in Africa, as they have struggled to get tenure to the land and gain access to security and finance. Therefore it is paramount that we invest in women farmers too push the food security agenda forward, and begin working towards the goal of feeding the world.

In this pursuit of a food secure Africa and world, we need a collective buy-in from all parties. We are beginning to see more of a focus on Public-Private Partnership as a way of moving the development agenda forward. These are partnerships between government and private sector, where both sets of parties collaborate in the pursuit of a unified goal. For these partnerships to be as effect as possible we need government to create a conducive environment where by it is attractive for private sector to engage. There is fourth P that is not often mentioned but it is extremely important, and that is ‘people’. We all need to do what is necessary to effect change. Public- Private- People Partnerships for a food secure world.